Torn between two lovers: Tisha Campbell and Martin Lawrence vs. Tisha Campbell and Damon Wayans.

Martin and My Wife and Kids, two very successful and classic sitcoms that the black community relish and the rest of America(and other countries where they’re syndicated) enjoy quite a bit as well. What else do they have in common? Why the beautiful, talented and hilarious Tisha Campbell of course!

Tisha Campbell will forever be known as Gina Waters-Payne and Jay Kyle. She will also always be seen by millions of people as being the tv wife of both Martin Lawrence and Damon Wayans. She has very specific chemistry with both leading men that is unique and great and memorable in different ways. All that being said, which superstar comedian was the very best paired with the queen of black sitcoms? Well let’s see…

Martin and Tisha:

It’s no secret that Martin and Tisha has had their fair share of drama in the past that all seemed to have started during Tisha’s marriage to Duane Martin at the time:

But regardless of past issues, the two made Martin and Gina one of tv’s greatest couples, specifically black television couples of all time! Remember, at the time Martin came out no one had ever seen a series focused on young black love and the ups and downs of said young black couple. Yes, before Martin we did have Reuben and Thelma from Amen and Dwayne and Whitley of A Different World fame, but although their relationships were very integral to their series, neither of them were the entire focus of their series. And of course we had iconic couples like George and Weezy Jefferson, James and Florida Evans, Lester and Mary Jenkins, Carl and Harriet Winslow and Cliff and Clair Huxtable, but those were all middle aged married couples with children. What Martin had with Martin and Gina was very special and groundbreaking as well as just plain entertaining. Rumors at the time was that Lawrence and Campbell were having a love affair offscreen that started all the way back to when they were in the 1990 classic film House Party together; and although there’s no real proof of that and neither Lawrence or Campbell have confirmed it I can’t say I would be surprised if that’s true. The genuine chemistry both shared on camera was out of this world. The passion both displayed in their characters and how deeply they loved each other and also how hilarious they were together as a comedy team is one of those magic things you can’t pray for, ask for or wish for, for your tv series. It just has to happen and it definitely happened on Martin.

Martin and Gina had so many iconic moments together romantic wise, comedy wise and emotionally dramatic wise that gave the audience the full spectrum of emotion, which is what catapulted them to the top of tv’s greatest couples period:

They’ve also shared some classic moments in bloopers\outtakes as well:

Then there’s Damon and Tisha:

Funny thing is that it was because of Tisha’s iconic role of Gina that Damon didn’t think it would work to have Tisha play his wife on his new sitcom:

But thank God that things worked out because we wouldn’t have gotten My Wife and Kids without Tisha Campbell and Damon Wayans as Jay and Michael Kyle. Now, one thing this pairing does have over Martin\Tisha is the lack of drama… at least not any to the public knowledge. Things seemed a bit more smooth sailing for Damon and Tisha and their chemistry gave us some amazing moments on My Wife and Kids that could rival if not top Martin and Gina’s moments:

Damon and Tisha seemed to be an unexpected perfect match for this series. Whoever would’ve thought that Gina and Homey The Clown, Handi-Man, Louis Farrakhan, Anton Jackson etc. would be a great comedy duo and believable married couple? What helped My Wife and Kids not be too compared to Martin with Tisha’s involvement is that Michael and Jay, unlike Martin and Gina have three kids and live in a more suburban area which allows viewers to not think of Gina when watching but get fully absorb in Jay and the relationship with Michael and Jay.

So which do I prefer? Look, both tv couples are dear to my heart and I think that Tisha Campbell was so amazing with both men and both of them allowed her to thrive with her own stellar comedy chops. But…. My heart will always choose Martin and Tisha as Martin and Gina first and foremost. There’s just no beating the chemistry Lawrence and Campbell shared and the full range of emotional depth that the couple of Martin and Gina had that we didn’t get as much of with Michael and Jay. Lawrence and Campbell will always be linked together for millions of loyal die hard Martin fans.

But what say you? Which pairing do you prefer? Something to think about.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Kendall Rivers

Kendall is a screenwriter who’s a huge fan of classic tv and movies. He enjoys creating good stories and characters.